Trauma is a reality in our livesSomething much more common and common than it seems. Its etymological root comes from the Greek and means “wound”.
It is traditionally considered as the consequence of an event, which generates mental or physical disorders that affect the quality level of our lives. However, trauma is not a life sentence.
What is a trauma?
The emotional trauma is a “psychological injury” which can be caused by various situations, usually extraordinary, disturbing, overwhelming and disturbing, which go beyond the usual experiences.
These very stressful situations would include major natural disasters, wars, accidents, abuse …, “serious threats to life or physical integrity, threats or real damage to children, spouse, family, friends; sudden destruction of the house, death or serious injury to another person as a result of an accident or an act of physical violence ”(DSM-5).
too much it can encompass seemingly minor experiences, Such as: an operation, a fall, a punishment, a serious illness, a lack of protection, a humiliation, a change of role in the family, a migration to another city or another country … which can also be experienced in a traumatic way.
In fact, it is not so much the dimension of the event itself that determines the damage caused, but its effects will also depend on each person, their history and their emotional environment, currently evolving in what has happened. past and its recurrence over time.
On the other hand, it should be noted that the onset of trauma can also be favored by the consumption of substances with psychoactive effects. However, in the event that the consumption of these products is due to the monitoring of pharmacological treatment supervised by doctors, the chances of this happening are very low, and also in these cases there is professional help that can prevent the development early complications.
The effects of trauma
Trauma, whatever its origin, affects the health, safety and well-being of the person in such a way that it can lead to develop false and destructive beliefs about herself and the world around her.
In general, it is considered normal to react to certain events with sadness, anxiety, anger, irritability, altered behavior, substance use … for a short time (Reijneveld, Crone, Verlhust and Verloove -Vanhorick, 2003, Dyregrow and Yule , 2006). However, sometimes these difficulties become so intense and lasting that they cause serious problems with personal functioning and psychosocial adjustment.
To account for these more intense and harmful phenomena, the WHO classification (ICD-10, 1992) proposes a category of disorders caused by stress and trauma, which includes acute and chronic PTSD, adaptation and lasting changes in personality following a catastrophic situation.
In these different psychological disorders the trauma is expressed in different ways, but in all episodes extreme extras and dissociation are usually involved to a greater or lesser extent.
It should be noted that we can’t always remember everything that happened to us Throughout our lives, memories of traumatic events are sometimes forgotten or fragmented.
According to the psychological current born of psychoanalysis, These are dissociative phenomena that prevent us from remembering what happened, which emerge as a defense mechanism developed by our psyche, which provides us with a natural protective response to the overwhelming traumatic experience, allowing us to move forward to survive (Kisiel and Lyon, 2001). According to these hypotheses, the memory would not be lost, but remains in the memory in a latent and inaccessible way, until, thanks to a therapeutic process or an event in the subject’s life, these are spontaneously recovered. partial or total. (In EL Manzanero and M. Recio, 2012).
Taking into account that there is such a strong impact that causes personality changes is of great importance for the study of the person and his emotional development, since unfavorable close and everyday situations may not only determine the symptoms and psychological disorders, but they arise. compromise the full development of the personality.
When they appear during childhood and adolescence
The post-traumatic reactions of childhood and adolescence can be expressed in different psychopathological forms (Copeland, Keeller, Angold, & Costello et al., 2007).
Several studies on child abuse situations have found that the main psychological consequences of the trauma were: Depression, anxiety, self-hatred, difficulty modulating anger, dissociation, stuffiness, difficulty paying attention and concentration, difficulty controlling impulses, substance abuse, self-injurious and risky behaviors, submission and dependence, strong sense of vulnerability and danger (Herman, 1992); revictimization, interpersonal and intimate relationship problems, somatizations and medical problems, loss of trust in others, feelings of helplessness and helplessness, traumatic sexualization, feelings of shame and guilt (Finkelhor, 1988).
These people present great despair over the world and the futureThey believe that they cannot find anyone who understands them or who understands their suffering, having a great internal conflict, with high levels of anxiety. The positive comes when they try to find someone to help them get over their anxiety, somatic worries, and feelings of hopelessness or hopelessness. (Amor, Echeburúa, Corral, Sarasua and Zubizarreta, 2001).
Characteristics of mental injuries
Scientific research on trauma asserts that expressing one’s feelings and intense emotional states in a cathartic way helps to cope with difficult situations. reduce the likelihood of the occurrence of obsessive ruminations and increased physiological activity (Penneba and Susman, 1988).
Additionally, social support, such as talking to a family member or friend about a problem, has been shown to be one of the most valued mechanisms for dealing with difficult emotional situations (Folkman et al. ., 1986; Vázquez and Ring, 1992, 1996), in addition to the stress relief itself (Barrera, 1988). In fact, the lack of people close to those dependent on complicated circumstances dramatically increases the risk of depressive episodes occurring in vulnerable people (Brown & Harris, 1978).
The importance of attitude and mindset
Optimistic people seem to cope better with the symptoms of physical illnesses like cancer, chronic disease, heart surgery … (Scheier and Carver, 1992), which seems to be due to the fact that the strategies used by these people tend to be focused more about the problem, seek social support and find the positive sides of the stressful experience.
In contrast, pessimistic people are characterized by resorting to denial and distancing from the stressor, focusing more on the negative feelings produced by this situation (Avià and Vázquez, 1998). This way, a personality model is drawn more clearly with a tendency to good health characterized by optimism, a sense of control and a good capacity to adapt (Taylor, 1991).
Perform art therapy activities, As a space for the development of traumatic events, promotes recovery, facilitates social reintegration and therapeutic rehabilitation through a creative process.
These types of techniques promote the expression of one’s own feelings from a different language which helps channel sensations, emotions and memories. without pushing to catharsis or emotional overflow, Offer a new mode of expression that escapes resistance and verbal blockages, promoting memory and the construction of a coherent story that makes it possible to understand what happened. This will allow the victim to integrate his experience, from a safe and free judgmental environment (“Articles on Art Therapy and Art Education for Social Inclusion”, Mónica Cury, April 2007).
The trauma therefore does not have to be a life sentence. During the healing process, a renewing evolution can be generated, capable of improving our quality of life, becoming an experience of transformation and metamorphosis (Peter A. Levine, 1997).
The ability of human beings to forgive, to recompose, to move forward, to prosper, to enlighten, to overcome trials and events, to rise up and resurrect with a triumphant smile when we come together with our identity, with love. .. it is spectacular and simply admirable.
- Neria, Y .; Nandi, A. and Galea, S. (2008). Post-traumatic stress disorder after disaster: a systematic review. Psychological medicine, 38 (4): pages 467 – 480.
- Seligman, MEP and Maier, SF (1967). Don’t escape traumatic shock. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 74: pages 1-9.
- Steele K .; van der Hart O .; Nijenhuis, ER (2005). Phased treatment of structural dissociation in complex trauma: overcoming trauma-related phobias. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation. 6 (3): pages 11 to 53.
- Whitfield, C. (2010). Psychiatric drugs as agents of trauma. The International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine, 22 (4): pp. 195-207.